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10 Ways to Create an Email Marketing List

10 Ways to Create an Email Marketing List

Your email list is the foundation of your customer communication strategy. Learn how to build your list and create your email marketing strategy.

Don’t be fooled by email’s long legacy. It was invented in 1972, but email can still achieve better metrics than its younger online counterparts, such as social media. Email marketing reigns when it comes to grabbing attention, building brand loyalty, and — that holy grail — enticing customers to buy.

Every business needs an email subscriber list and needs to implement a well-considered email marketing strategy. If your email list is old, or your business is so new that the only people on your list are your friends, it’s time to get to work.

Your email list should be the foundation of your customer and lead communication strategy. That means you need to find engaging ways to get people excited to hear from you. It also means you must respect Canada’s stringent anti-spam laws. It’s not hard as long as you keep one very important rule in mind: When it comes to building your email list, quality always beats quantity.

Yes, Email Still Matters

Your marketing team is stretched thin, or maybe your marketing team is only you. Your marketing budget is stretched thinner. What do you do? Generally, your best option is to focus on email marketing.

Canadians are some of the most internet-savvy people on the planet. The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) reports that 73 per cent of Canadians “spend at least three-to-four hours online each day.” The top way they spend their time online is checking or responding to email, at 90 per cent. Those email inboxes are being managed, too, with 60 per cent of internet users blocking junk email and spam.

Email reigns as one of the most effective ways to reach Canadian customers — as long as the recipients want to hear from a company. Salesforce Research found that 64 per cent of consumers named email as their preferred channel for communication with the companies they do business with. Compare that with:

  • 59 per cent in person

  • 56 per cent over the phone

  • 32 per cent over social media

Email matters because it works. Estimates on email’s ROI vary wildly depending on the source, but it’s one of the channels with the highest ROI when it comes to customer acquisition, upselling, customer retention, and customer advocacy.

Email marketing is a must for every business. Building your email list the right way means respecting your subscribers and following the law. Let’s look at how to keep things customer-centric and legal.

Canada Has Strict Anti-Spam Laws

If your business or any of your customers are based in Canada, then you need to understand and follow Canada’s anti-spam law, the CASL. The law helps you be a better marketer by ensuring that you only populate your email list with subscribers who want to hear from you.

The law requires all businesses that send commercial electronic messages (CEMs) to first receive consent from recipients. In other words, everyone on your email list must actively opt in to receive any email messages from you. On top of this standard, you also need to give your email recipients the ability to easily opt out of future emails. Fortunately, most email marketing platforms automatically add an unsubscribe link to the bottom of your emails.

Take the time to read a thorough overview of the CASL. It has exemptions and a number of rules for email marketers who send any email to or within Canada. The maximum penalty for disobeying the law is $1,000,000, as well as $10,000,000 fines for individuals. The Canadian government may pursue criminal sanctions against you as well if you don’t comply.

Most marketers have no reason to be nervous. Proper email marketing is all about quality over quantity. It’s far better to build a list of 100 email addresses whose owners opted in to your list and actually want to hear from you than to purchase a list of 10,000 email addresses. Those recipients may not know who you are and could report your emails as spam.

Great email marketing is about building relationships with your ideal customers. By following CASL, you ensure that everyone on your email list is excited to receive your emails.

10 Ways to Create an Email Marketing List

How can you legally build a robust email address list? Here are 10 tested and successful tactics.

1. Put a Sign-Up Form on Your Website

Anyone who visits your website is showing interest in your company. Put an email sign-up form prominently on your home page, landing pages, and any other relevant pages on your website. Craft a compelling message and give visitors a good reason to sign up. It’s not enough to say, “Get updates by joining our newsletter.” Recipients won’t know what to expect. Enticing, clear messages like, “Receive email-only promotions” or “Learn a new tip on how to do X each week” will fill your email coffers — and likely positively impact your email marketing metrics, too.

2. Let Your Followers Know You Have an Email List

The best place to find email list sign-ups is among your existing fans. Add an email sign-up button on your social media channels and don’t be shy about posting all the reasons your followers should sign up. Again, make sure that your emails are worth the while for your subscribers: Don’t just email the same updates, coupons, and promotions that you post on your social media channels. Give your loyal fans something they can only get by being on your email list.

3. Offer In-Store Signups

If you have a physical store, every person who walks through your doors is a potential email subscriber. Put an email sign-up card next to your register or drop a card with a sign-up code into each bag at purchase. Ask your associates to encourage customers to sign up for special offers or useful tips.

Some people need to see a message multiple times in order for it to sink in, so include the ability to sign up for your emails everywhere. Put it in your company email signatures. Add it to your receipts and invoices. Include it on your business cards and at the end of any presentations you give. The bottom line: Make it easy for your leads and customers to find your email subscription link.

5. Electronically Ask for Referrals

One of the most effective forms of marketing is a referral. If someone makes the decision to join your email list, they may be a prime referral source. Since you are offering valuable and unique content to your email subscribers, encourage them to share your emails with others who may be interested. At the end of each email, encourage your subscribers to forward your emails.

6. Provide Checklists, Infographics, and Quizzes

Encourage email sign-ups by offering content or perks your customers will find fun, educational, or useful. Well-designed checklists, guides, and quizzes all fit this requirement. Take the time to make them look great to ensure they will be used by, and therefore valuable to, your ideal customers. Then offer your fun bonus on your website, blog, and social media channels in exchange for a lead’s email address.

7. Share Guides, White Papers, and E-books

The more value you offer, the more likely your audience will want to give you their email addresses in exchange for your freebie. Guides, white papers, and e-books require an investment, but they pay off when they attract the right people to your list. Focus on providing value: A hastily written white paper, or a guide with the same information they could find with a quick internet search doesn’t provide the kind of value your email subscribers deserve.

8. Offer Exclusive Promotions, Discounts, and Giveaways

Let your audience know that the only way to get your next big promotion, discount, or giveaway is to sign up for your email list. You may get a lot of people who only want the promotion and who will either unsubscribe right away or who won’t engage with your emails. Plan to have regular, fun promotions, discounts, and giveaways throughout the year to keep your list active and engaged.

9. Create Webinars and Educational Courses

When you have knowledge that your ideal customers want to learn, create a well-produced webinar or educational course and offer it in exchange for their email address. This strategy requires time and effort, but it will help you identify and attract high-quality leads. Webinars and educational courses are also a great way to build a positive relationship with your customers. People appreciate true value and will give you loyalty in return. To build on your momentum, connect your email campaign to your webinar or course. For example, if your course covers how to find your first 1,000 social media fans, promise all your newsletter sign-ups weekly or monthly tips about specific social media platforms.

10. Provide Individual Video or Phone Consultations

This tactic can be the most powerful way to engage customers, especially if you are trying to get your business off the ground. Offer a private consultation to anyone, or to the first 100 people, who sign up for your email list. Use this consultation to learn more about who your customers are, the challenges they face, and why they are interested in your industry, products, and services. Follow up with a well-crafted email campaign expanding on the consultation. If you do it right, the customers will likely start rolling in.

Respect Your Email Marketing List

Building your email subscriber list is the start of developing a powerful and lucrative email marketing plan. Before you send your first email, take the time to carefully strategize your email marketing strategy.

  • Who do you want to attract to your list?

  • How can you segment your list?

  • How will you offer value in every single email?

  • What can you do to keep your audience engaged?

When you can answer these questions, you’ll know your email marketing is going to improve. Email is still king, so treat your email subscribers like the royalty they are.

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